Kjerstin Thorson is Brandt Endowed Professor of Political Communication in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations and the School of Journalism, and Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Her research explores the role of digital and social media in promoting—or hindering—political engagement. This includes a focus on two interrelated areas of inquiry concerning (a) how digital and social media are changing existing practices of political participation—and how that participation is mobilized, particularly among youth; and (b) how, why and what kinds of political content spread through social media platforms, and the resulting effects of exposure. Recent research projects have investigated political uses of Facebook, the spread of climate change communication on social media, and the contributions of media use in shifting conceptions of politics among young adults.
Political Communication and Civic Engagement